How to Build a Brand Style Guide for Your Startup

  • Apr 10, 2017
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Brand Style Guide

A brand style guide is a modern way to tell your audience and business partners what exactly you want to bring to the market. All such key factors as your mission, goals of your work, important values have to be there. Except that, basic data on the corporate identity is also included. Some people even would call the guide “a brand bible” – that is how they express the significance of this concept.

We’re going to learn more about 6 basic elements of any brand style guide. Each of them deserves much of your attention, so let’s get started:

  • the story of the brand
  • style logo
  • color palette
  • typography
  • photos and illustrations
  • the voice of the brand

brand story

1. Sharing the Brand Story

This is where it all begins. At first, we only have some subtle thoughts on the project of our dream. With time, it becomes the subject of our everyday consideration. And we know where it ends up – we finally have a spick-and-span solution. Why don’t introduce the brand standards to the world?

If you’re not sure where to begin, keep in mind these items:

  • mission
  • vision
  • values
  • personality
  • audience

We bet you’ve got a lot to say on each of these themes. So, take your time, there’s no rush – what exactly are you ready to share with your customers?

2. Logo as a Symbol of Your Work

The logo of your brand should look spectacular in any environment it appears. On this second stage, you should consider that in all cases the logo is used in an appropriate way. It includes counting possible mistakes: stretching, condensing, or altering. Don’t forget about all design styles of the logo that you have and tell where a specialist can use each of them.

These are a few necessary aspects:

  1. Size. Tell about the minimum size and required proportions.
  2. Color. There should be logo variations (for example, a black and white or colored symbol) and clear instructions how to use them.
  3. Space. It’s for those cases when your logo needs some space around it.
  4. Logo taboos. This is something you don’t want to be done regardless of the situation.

Logo design

3. Color Scheme

Usually, it takes quite a long time to stop your choice on several colors out of many. It feels like choosing a color for your living room, except your living room is a business activity seen by hundreds of people.

The color solution of your brand identity will probably consist of several main shades and their lighter and darker variations. It is great to have a color (which is lighter) for backgrounds, darker ones will be used for the text components. And one vivid shade can be handy for important information. All of your decisions on the color scheme should be put in your brand-book with much detail.

4. Letters and Fonts

How does your handwriting look like? Each of us has his own manner of writing. Mechanical writing is much easier as there are already some typical solutions for concrete situations. You can choose one or several fonts at once writing a style guide. But it’s better to remember that they should differ from the one used in the logo (if you use it there).

brand fonts

It is important to specify how exactly the brand’s typography scheme should look like.

These are instructions that can be given in this regard:

  1. The story behind the fonts. Introduce all typefaces you’re using in the corporate identity, tell why this or that font was applied for your brand in headlines, captions, etc.
  2. Alignment. Choose the right location of the text – whether you want it to be centered or aligned leftward or any other creative idea you have.
  3. Kerning and tracking. These are special terms in typography, which define how exactly the letters in the words are situated. They are especially important to consider when the font size will be somehow changed.

5. Imagery Component

Photos and illustrations seem to be a part of the brand style which stirs real emotions in your customer. Usually, the best way to pick out such a material is to listen to your own feelings, especially the feeling for your product.

It’s up to you how many variants of pictures you will demonstrate on the brand-book. It can be a bunch of reliable images that have worked successfully for your business. Or use the inspirational material you want to be equal to – show everything you’ve got!

6. Brand Voice

This is the most sophisticated part of the brand style, as it’s not enough to find the right photos and fonts. It is also important to speak to the consumer the same language. The main message of your business should be associated with a positive impression.

Try to imagine the product you’re selling and the tone you’re talking about it. Is it formal or not? How strongly is it connected with your mission and values you’ve listed before? In the brand guideline, you can specify the words you like the most and those you don’t like at all. Always remember about your best practices and stick to the brand’s personality.

Brand Style

Brand Style as a Business Indicator

At the beginning of each day, we pay attention to the way that we look. Any startup owner should also take care of the brand’s appearance. Brand style guide gives the clear vision of your work in details as well as shows your responsible approach. Besides, a corporate image distinguishes the company from lots of others.

If you still don’t have your own brand-book, this is a sign – it’s time to create it!

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